A lot of Buzz about Saudi women driving on June 17 (Friday), I am not sure exactly why this date was chosen or the significance attributed to it. People were asked to Honk for support. I believed a lot of expatriate’s women are waiting for this law to take effect, however, cautious they (and I) may be, driving is a long-awaited , one step forward to women’s right. Among others are … the rights to work which is already being implemented (mostly in education, health, and finance field), mechanism for marriage and divorce, protection from domestic abuse which is globally tackled in many ways.
Huh! Beautybeyond fifty at age 52 will start to drive in Saudi Arabia and a lot more who has been in this country for decades, can now put out their driving license in public, and in use hopefully. But this is not entirely a new thing, women in exclusive compounds can freely drive within and I also heard that in some rural areas, it’s common to see a woman in driving seat. So, what’s the big buzz if they allow them to drive freely in the city? Isn’t it … they already have women pilot? Ironically,someone has to drives her to the airport , so she can fly the aircraft…strange but its true! I guess not everyone is amused to the idea but for sure, each has reasons, each has his/her own story to tell.
I remember when my first son, got his driving license in the Kingdom, he was not as excited as I expected him to be, his comment? …this is not the right place to drive ( at least for the first timer like him); a lot of drivers are not polite and doesn’t follow traffic regulations especially during rush hours and Ramadan months. I definitely agree with his observation. This is the place where accidents happened most of the time, not only two but more like of domino effect, most of the time. Even though, how careful and how defensive you are in driving, there are a lot of munchkins on the road, ready to eat you and forever honking, until you give him his way, not to mention, texting while driving and stopping at the middle of the road, just to say “hello” to someone he saw on the road, never mind if he is blocking your way.
What about those rude, smelly taxi drivers, whose eyes are on you… as if this is their first time to see a woman in their life and not only that, they will ask you” kabayan” filipina? kumusta ka maganda! the pedestrians are also the same, staring, wondering where are you going, where is your husband, where is your driver…annoying !
On the other hand, having to drive your own car is a right of every individual who loves life and freedom. Why I mentioned “love life”because if you love your life ,you drive safely to avoid mishap and “freedom”we should be given a free will to decide whether we like to drive or not.
Saudi Arabia is the only country that banned women to drive, if it is about Islamic law? what about the other Islamic country, why do they allow women to drive?
It’s a never-ending discussion, each one has it’s own defense, women’s rights is a global issues, discrimination happens but are they doing something about it? Is there a Law against discrimination in the Kingdom?
Saudi women is still in guardianship..meaning they can not do anything even to travel outside without a male guardian. This is to protect family unity, family honor but what about expatriates? Women expatriates are not allowed to sponsor their husband either or even to invite them on visiting visa. If they value Family unity, it should apply to all expatriates alike who also has family of their own.
Two years ago , my husband had a visa problem and I was literally begging to everyone I know, who can help him to stay with us but to no avail, we have to follow the rules. Of course, you would think this is another issue… but for me this is also connected in a way, if Saudi women have no rights in their own country, how could we?
“When women thrive, all of society benefits, and succeeding generations are given a better start in life” .– Kofi Annan